I’m legend is the film directed by Francis Lawrence which airs tonight at 21.20 on Italia 1. Based on the homonymous novel by Richard Matheson, from which it was also based 1975: White eyes on planet Earth, I’m legend had returned to the fore in 2020, when the explosion of the Covid-19 pandemic had led viewers to be interested in films that, in the past, had dealt with the theme of viruses and pandemics.
I am legend, the plot
New York is no more. The skyscrapers are still in place, but the streets have been destroyed by nature which has broken the concrete, re-appropriating spaces that man had destroyed. There is no more traffic on the large thoroughfares, but only abandoned cars, next to which deer and other wild animals move. Above all, there are no more voices or noises in New York. There are no more human beings. There is no one but Robert Neville (Will Smith), who appears to be the last survivor of a terrible pandemic that has wiped out humanity. Forced into a routine that helps him not go crazy, entangled as it is in his loneliness, Robert’s only companion is Sam, a German shepherd who follows him step by step and who is the only contact with a non-inanimate being. But the truth is that Robert is not the only inhabitant of New York: when darkness falls, in fact, creatures similar to vampires emerge from the stomach of the Big Apple, creatures that the virus has turned into real bloodsuckers.
The closure of New York
I’m legend is one of the many titles through which the seventh art has grappled not only with the horror and dystopian genre, but also with the vampiric subgenre. Forget the creatures of the night headed by Polidori and Bram Stoker, and go beyond the fighting vampires of films such asblades, I’m legend dwells more on the scientific side of the Undead, turning them into real ones genetic mutations related to the proliferation of a virus which leaves no way out. Above all, however, the greatness of I’m legend it is due to how the camera insists on a protagonist left to himself, lost in a world in which he no longer has any contacts and no point of reference, forced as he is to invent plastic friends to pretend the perseverance of the old rules social. The true heart of the film, therefore, is to be found in Robert and in the excellent interpretation of Will Smith, who manages to fill the screen, while remaining for a long time the only true face that is framed.
In reality, then, the other protagonist of the film is undoubtedly the city of New York. The US city, which in the collective imagination “never sleeps” and is always full of light, in I’m legend instead it appears as an eerie creature, a sleeping giant that seems to wait silently only in the hope of being able to devour the last and only human being who survived the end. Thanks also to a photograph that prefers shades of gray and ochre, New York truly appears as a destroyed entity which, thanks to its innate recognizability, sends back to the viewer a sense of loss and at the same time of threat, of melancholy for what it was and of fear for what it could be: a reflection that still appears very current, given the historical period that humanity is going through. Just to underline the importance of locations, director Francis Lawrence he knew he had to concentrate precisely on the shots that include the city.
According to what was reconstructed from the site of theInternet Movie Databasethe production of the film – and especially the representatives of Warner Bros. – opposed the idea of actually filming in New York, above all for mere logistical and economic reasons. Shooting in New York would have meant raising production costs and would have been a really difficult challenge, precisely because the metropolis is one of those that never stops. Despite this, however, the production manager, Michael Tadross, with many years of experience in the field and, specifically, in New York, managed to make a good deal. The man obtained the closure of the Grand Central viaduct and numerous neighborhoods in the area between Fifth Avenue and Washington Square Park for nights and weekends between September 2006 and April 2007.